Having a grandfather who worked for an amazing 42 years for the world famous chocolate makers Cadbury’s, it is no wonder I am a raving chocoholic. I have dreamt of walking through a city where the streets are lined with medieval market stalls displaying the most exquisite mouth-watering chocolates, all for me to indulge in as I please. Did I say dream? Not anymore.
For those who don’t already know, the medieval yet cosmopolitan city of Perugia is also the birthplace of the Baci chocolate, as well as host to the Eurochocolate Festival for the 12th year running.
This year the festival is taking place between the October 15 and 23, not only attracting chocolate lovers from far and wide, but also drawing over 130 chocolate producers from Italy and abroad. The events lined up come in all shapes and sizes including exhibitions, chocolate sculptures, banquets, cooking classes, and market stalls, transforming this quaint Umbrian city into a scene from Hansel and Gretel.
The secret ingredient to this delicious festival is the theme it adopts every year in order to highlight the wonders of chocolate and its origins. Last year’s theme for example, was “City of Chocolate” which saw the wonderful and the bizarre, from the election of the first ‘ChocoMayor,’ to an international seminar devoted to the emotions brought on by chocolate consumption.
This year the theme is “Chokolate Revolution,” spelled intentionally with a ‘k’. The revolution covers the historical background of chocolate shown in an exhibition entitled “cioccolata, squisita gentilezza” that was organised with the help of the National Central Library of Florence. Another aspect of the revolution is based upon promoting better ways to improve the economies of cocoa-producing countries. This aspect will be highlighted further by the first ever C8, a fully-fledged international summit of the top eight cocoa-producing countries of the world. The idea behind the summit is to allow these countries to express the importance of the cocoa trade on their economies as well as addressing issues such as fair trade. In keeping with the revolutionary theme, another exhibition entitled “Red October” refers to a fiery ingredient that is being added to chocolate more frequently: the chilli pepper.
New to the festival this year is the much-anticipated Choco Card. The card, which costs 5 euros, will give chocolate lovers access to discounts and special offers, giving them the opportunity to spoil their friends and family back home without over-indulging their own waist lines, or purse strings. For a product that needs no marketing or clever slogans, with the power to unite all ages and social classes alike, it is no wonder the festival organisers are predicting an increase to the 900,000 visitors they had at last year’s Exhibition. Who needs Charlie and the Chocolate factory when Perugia can make the fantasy a reality?
If after a while, however, the smell of chocolate, the taste of chocolate, and simply the look of chocolate begins to make you feel nauseous, or worse still, gain weight, take this time to wander the narrow streets of the centro storico and submerge yourself in the beauties that this ‘revolutionary’ city truly has to offer.
Eurochocolate Press Office
+39 075 502-5880 –
Fax +39 075 502-5889